Legal Literacy

What are Alimony Laws like in India?

Divorce is stressful for everyone. It is a legal way of ending a relationship. It is important that the decision of separation should be justified for both the parties. To support himself or herself after the separation, the spouse is granted some monetary compensation by the financially stronger partner. The compensation paid is called alimony.

“Alimony is a monetary aid provided to a financially weaker spouse in order to maintain his/ her standard of living same as before separation.” The compensation typically depends upon the law of the land. However, different laws are applicable to different religions.

Types Of Alimony

Alimony is of two types; one which is paid at the time of the proceedings during the divorce in courts. Also known as the maintenance amount. And the second, which is paid after separation, it can be paid as lump sum or instalments.

The Entitlement

Most often it is the female partner who is entitled to the alimony.  But sometimes it is the male partner who is found to be harassed and the court may ask the wife to compensate for his losses. It is rare that court compels the male partner to pay the alimony when he does not have any source of income while the wife is financially well off.

Also, the court may ask husband to return the Stree-dhan — the wealth received at the time of marriage from her parents.

How Much Alimony One Has To Pay ?

It is the court which decides the actual amount of alimony. The amount to be paid as alimony is calculated keeping in view many factors like the income of the partners, social status, standard of living, number of children, and number of years spent together and emotional attachment.

There isn’t any specific formula to calculate the amount but generally, it is generally the 1/3 or the 1/5 part of the salary of the paying spouse.

Who Ends Up Paying The Alimony?

In case of Wife 

  • If wife is earning- If the husband has high income and a good financial status then the wife will get alimony.
  • If wife is not earning- An alimony amount is to be paid compulsorily by the husband to ensure that the standard of living of the wife is maintained.
  • When she remarries- The alimony stands invalid and the husband only has to pay for the children if any.

Husband gets alimony

If the husband is unable to earn or is disabled, the court may ask the wife to pay the alimony too.